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IRA Rollover Provision Creates Scholarship Opportunity

Dr. Jane Betts, UW-Eau Claire professor emerita of English, from Afton, Minn., has stayed connected to UW-Eau Claire since her retirement in 1997 by keeping in touch with former colleagues and contributing to funds that support the university. She often pondered the possibility of establishing a scholarship like those initiated by other former faculty members. 

"I thought it was a good idea but I also thought you had to be really well off to give money to a scholarship. Now I understand that it's not about the amount of the contribution," Jane says. "It's about recognizing and honoring talent and perseverance." 

Jane says the timing of the IRA rollover provision this year was "almost like fate." The required minimum distribution of her IRA was very near the amount she would need for an accumulated endowment with an annual award of $500. 

Helping Those Who Have Overcome Challenges
The Jane Colville Betts English Scholarship will be available to English majors in the near future. Jane is interested in targeting students who have overcome difficulties in achieving their college goals. Applicants will be asked to write a personal essay, story or poem about their inspiration for becoming an English major and the challenges involved. 

"This really is about creating an opportunity and encouragement for someone else," says Jane, who attended Wilson College, a school for women in Chambersburg, Penn. She went on to earn a master's degree from Columbia University and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. 

"It concerns me when I realize that the financial questions are much more burdensome now than they were for my family, because I remember how college gave my life real meaning and joy." 

Jane taught creative writing, world literature, freshman composition and modern British literature. Since her retirement, she has published a book of poems spanning 60 years of her life. 

Change a Student's Life
Contact Diane Doudna at 715-836-3819 or to learn how you can change a student's life by creating a scholarship.

For more stories about "Why We Give" click here. 

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